Friday, March 18, 2016

Tawny Frogmouth Follower

Friday 19th March 2016

TAWNY FROGMOUTH FOLLOWER

I had been attempting to take some creative photos of the sunset at our place on the western side of the property and just prior to complete darkness, I had a visitor turn up to keep me and Bentley the Butcherbird and our little dog company.  A beautiful Tawny Frogmouth landed on the powerline above me and as I started to walk back to the house, it came and landed a couple of meters away from me on a road reflector post. It was a little unusual, and it wasn't worried by me and posed for some photos.

Judi

Tawny Frogmouth Follower, 18th March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Unusual Yellow Scorpion-Tailed Spider

17th March 2016

SCORPION-TAILED SPIDER (Arachnura higginsi)

This tiny vibrant yellow female Scorpion-tailed Spider has had me working very hard to try and get a half-decent photo of it over the last few weeks.  Brendon first noticed these bright yellow critters on a spiky shrub at our patch at night, we then identified them as the unusual looking scorpion like spider. 

This one tree has around 5 female spiders in webs on it at the moment, mostly located higher than my head height, so combined with trying to access the spiky bush, avoiding the wasp nests and the wind blowing around these weightless creatures, it has proved very frustrating to get a good photo for the blog and our records.  (I have had a couple of attempts at photographing them and these are the best pics so far - I will update the post should I ever manage to get clear ones!)

The Scorpion-tailed Spider is an orb-weaver spider and the female is around 1.5cm long, while the male is apparently so minute it can't even be noticed!  The female is often bright yellow, as are the ones at our place and she sits in the centre of the orb web at all times.  She lays eggs which are hung in "sacs" in string style down the centre of the web, she then sits below the last sac once this has been completed.   

My observation is that most of the time the spider is fairly sedentary, and covers its face with its legs which are right at the front of the body, creating havoc with trying to get a photo of it's eyes!  It either has the long tail-like abdomen out straight, or,when tending to the web, curls it up giving it a scorpion like appearance.  The end of the 'tail' has has 3-4 spikes on a darker tip.  

They are fascinating looking spiders and the colours are so bright, I can't believe we haven't noticed them before.

J & B


SCORPION-TAILED SPIDER (Arachnura higginsi)

Underside of the SCORPION-TAILED SPIDER (Arachnura higginsi)


Not the best photo, but it shows the egg sacks in a "string" of the SCORPION-TAILED SPIDER (Arachnura higginsi)

Dome Tent Spider in Web

17th March 2016

DOME TENT SPIDER (Cyrtophora moluccensis (Doleschall, 1857)

This beautiful spider is actually an "orb-weaver" however it's web differs from other orb weavers and is characteristic of the species, being a "dome shape" built horizontally, with center of the web or the "hub" pulled up vertically to give the tent like appearance.  Dome Tent Spiders apparently always build their webs in shrubs and dense bushes, and never over walkways or tracks.  The web can last for around two weeks at which time the spider re-builds it.  The female perches upside-down at the very top of the tent day and night while the much smaller male is usually at the edge of the tent near foliage. 

This particular Dome Tent Spider was observed in a very spiky shrub at Jarowair and it has been in the same spot for a few weeks now.  This is the first time that I have noticed this species of spider here.  The particular tree it is using is an insect haven at the moment, with many types of spiders and wasps calling it home.

J.G.

(I.D. Source: Australian Spiders in Colour by Ramon Mascord 1970 & Brisbane Insects.com)

DOME TENT SPIDER (Cyrtophora moluccensis) at Jarowair - side view showing the "horns" on it's back.


DOME TENT SPIDER (Cyrtophora moluccensis) at Jarowair

Dome Tent Web of the DOME TENT SPIDER (Cyrtophora moluccensis) at Jarowair

DOME TENT SPIDER (Cyrtophora moluccensis) at Jarowair




Thursday, March 10, 2016

Stick-nest Brown Native Paper Wasps

10th March 2016

STICK-NEST BROWN NATIVE PAPER WASPS (Ropalidia revolutionalis)

These Native Brown Paper Wasps have built their stick nests in a spiky tree at our place.  Th nests are distinctive each being two cells wide (as shown below) and attached to the shrub by a short stalk. The wasps are a reddish-brown colour and are not known to be aggressive unless their nest is disturbed... I didn't get close enough to find out, however they aren't fazed by me visiting the tree regularly to take photos of the other insects inhabiting it.  The adult wasps feed on nectar, but they feed the young ones insects such as grubs and caterpillars.

J.G.

(Info Source: Wildlife of Greater Brisbane & Brisbane Insects.com)

STICK-NEST BROWN NATIVE PAPER WASPS (Ropalidia revolutionalis)

STICK-NEST BROWN NATIVE PAPER WASPS (Ropalidia revolutionalis)

Green Gum Leafhopper

10th March 2016

GREEN GUM LEAFHOPPER (Eurymeloides pulchra)

This small insect (approx 2cm long) was on a dying Eucalyptus tree at our patch late morning. It was surrounded by ants, and the brightly coloured orange black and white insect resembled a small cicada.  It took me a little while to find an i.d. for this one and I must thank Daniel Heald, also a member of Amateur Entomology Australia for helping me figure it out.

Leafhoppers do resemble small cicadas and the adults and numphs are "followed around" by ants. Brisbane Insects says "Those ants surround them come for their excretion of 'honey-dew', which is the excess sugar that the treehoppers do not need. The presence of ants discourage predators. This becomes a kind of protection from the ants."  

This particular Leafhopper (Eurymelini) are only found on Eucalyptus trees.  Other types of leafhoppers can be found on either Eucalyptus or Casuarina.

J.G.


GREEN GUM LEAFHOPPER (Eurymeloides pulchra)

GREEN GUM LEAFHOPPER (Eurymeloides pulchra) Surrounded by ants.

GREEN GUM LEAFHOPPER (Eurymeloides pulchra)